Information on the whereabouts of the security guard at the Mandalay Bay Hotel the on night of the Las Vegas massacre is being tightly guarded.
Jesus Campos was the security guard hailed as a hero after he was shot by gunman Stephen Paddock near his hotel room. In the sole interview he gave, with Ellen Degeneres, he said he first believed the sound of gunshots to be drilling. Campos had abruptly cancelled at least five other interviews that were planned.
Paddock, 64, opened fire into the crowd of 22,000 people, on Oct. 1, killing at least 58 and injuring hundreds more.
Lawyers suing the hotel on behalf of those who were injured or the families of those killed on that fateful night say the management at MGM Resorts International, who own the hotel, are taking excessive measures to shelter the security guard and could cause undue influence on a key witness. Campos is currently staying at an undisclosed property owned by MGM, all expenses paid.
Campos was also found to have left the country not long after the incident. Questions remain as to how he managed to travel so soon after getting shot, why investigators let him leave the country, and why he refused all interviews with journalists and only offered one to a comedian.
“If they’re putting him up at one of their resorts, then somebody has some explaining to do,” veteran Las Vegas lawyer Rob Murdock said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “My concern is that they may be trying to have an improper influence with a witness.”
Campos’s lawyer, Frank Flansburg III, explained the reason for the hotel to offer Campos a paid stay.
“Following the tragedy, Mr. Campos’ name was publicly released, resulting in extensive and intrusive media attention,” Flansburg said. “Because of the unwanted attention days after the event, MGM Resorts offered Mr. Campos lodging for his privacy and protection, which Mr. Campos accepted and appreciated.”
But some lawyers think the gesture leaves the hotel and Campos open for increased legal scrutiny, suggesting they are making sure Campos’s words and actions stay favorable to MGM in the legal proceedings he will undoubtedly take part in.
“Campos is a material witness in an ongoing investigation,” said Southern California lawyer Richard Bridgford, part of a team suing MGM on behalf of victims. “We will certainly want to know the details of where he stayed, why he disappeared, who paid for his stay and, most importantly, what if anything he was told and by whom. It goes to the credibility of the witness, his bias, and the ever-changing timeline we are being provided.”
Bridgford is referring to the timeline offered by Las Vegas police, who are also being scrutinized over their handling of the situation. Police have so far have changed the timeline twice, Daily Mail reported.
The first timeline said Campos was shot after the Paddock had shot into the crowd, the second version said Campos was shot before the massacre, and the third said Campos was shot not long after the massacre started.